A headteacher has laid out his fears for the safety of children following Boris Johnson’s announcement that classrooms could reopen as early as June.
Howard Fisher, head of St George’s Church of England Primary School in Kent, has sent a brutally honest letter that has been shared over a thousand times on Facebook, according to Kent Live.
The letter, dated May 11th, reads: “We have no plans sent from the government before the announcement last night. No doubt they will arrive this week suggesting social distancing, less pupils in the school, splitting them up, staggered lunches and drop offs, etc.
“I can be truthful here and categorically tell you there is no such thing as social distancing in a school; it does not exist and would never exist.
“The reason childhood illnesses spread in a school is surprise, surprise, we are all in contact with each other.
“I can put two children in opposite classrooms and they will still get chicken pox because that’s how it is in a school. This virus we are lead to believe is a super spreader.”
The letter continued: “Do I want the staff and the children back; of course. Are you at the end of your tether at home; of course you are.
“However I am not going to sit here and write to you to say we can achieve social distancing in a school. We can always make things safer, we could perhaps reduce slightly the risk, but as soon as you open the school as far as my many years can tell you, the risk will be there.
“So that leaves us all in a quandary doesn’t it? How long can we go on like this for? Unfortunately I heard no answers last night, I heard no solutions.
“I heard that it is ok to put our youngest children back in a school and our oldest. I heard nothing that would put my mind at rest.
“There will be some of you that say, ‘let’s just get on with it,’ I respect that, but get on with what?
“There is not a reliable test, a vaccine, an idea about what to do next, there is just the possibility that things will be ok; that’s all we have at the moment and ‘ok’ is not good enough when it comes to the precious gift that is your child.”
Mr Fisher said a ‘sensible and rational debate around better solutions’ is missing. He added: “Believe me, I would rather any child repeats a year than go back too soon and have to lose a child; why is this not in the national debate; because it will cost money!
“So parents, what can you do next? Well, all I can do is pass onto you information when we have it and you can make your own decision.
“Parent power is quite something when it is applied nationally; perhaps you too have some great ideas that can be brought before our politicians.
“I am only interested in my community and the families I serve and hope that you can reflect on my thoughts as the week unfolds.”
Speaking to Yahoo, Mr Fisher explained that it is ‘still too soon’ to reopen in July and that September is a ‘much safer time’ to bring back teaching into classrooms.
Huge meteor captured on doorbell camera lighting up the sky over Wigan
‘This particular piece of asteroid spent most of its orbit between Mars and Jupiter’
Meteor caught on camera lighting up the sky over Wigan.
The meteor was spotted just before 10pm on Sunday February 28th, and sent a sonic boom across parts of England. Scientists explain that it is likely to have been a small piece of an asteroid entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
A woman named Nikki posted a video of the meteor on Twitter, captured on her doorbell camera near her home in Appley Bridge on Sunday.
UKFall said the bright light could be seen all the way from Ireland to the Netherlands and is set to break the record as the most reported ever.
Over 758 reports have been made on the International Meteor Organisation’s website already.
UKFall’s Dr Ashley King, said: “The video recordings tell us its speed was about 30,000 miles per hour, which is too fast for it to be human-made ‘space junk’, so it’s not an old rocket or satellite.
“The videos also allowed us to reconstruct its original orbit around the sun. In this case, the orbit was like an asteroid’s.
“This particular piece of asteroid spent most of its orbit between Mars and Jupiter, though sometimes got closer to the Sun than Earth is.”
UKFall also said that it is likely ‘a few fragments’ reached the ground as the meteor fragmented in the atmosphere.
Dr Katherine Joy of the University of Manchester said: “If you do find a meteorite on the ground, ideally photograph it in place, note the location using your phone GPS, don’t touch it with a magnet, and, if you can, avoid touching it with your hands.”
Did you spot the meteor? We’d love to see your videos or photos – share them in the comments on Facebook!
All the cute baby animals you’ll be able to see when Chester Zoo reopens
There’s been a baby boom at the zoo
Chester Zoo is set to reopen its doors next month and there are plenty of cute baby animals to see.
After a challenging year for Chester Zoo, the news from Boris Johnson last week that means outdoor attractions such as zoos and theme parks can reopen from April 12th was welcomed.
And over the course of lockdown, there has been a baby boom in the zoo too!
There’s everything to see from tree frogs to penguin chicks and rare baby lemurs.
Of some of the smallest to see are 12cm long baby Mongoose triplets that were born back in May last year.
Even smaller, a pair of Eastern Pygmy Marmosets were born in December measuring just two inches long at the time.
The babies are part of the most miniature primate species on Earth and are normally found in the rainforests of western Brazil, south-eastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador and eastern Peru.
Some of the largest species at the zoo saw new additions, like the birth of a rare baby rhino. The birth of the Eastern Black Rhino was celebrated globally as fewer than 1,000 remain on the planet.
You’ll also find baby penguins born at the start of lockdown last year, plus baby Great Green Macaw Parrot chicks that hatched back in April 2020.
These colourful birds live in the lowland forests of Central and South America with a global population estimated at fewer than 2,500.
In March last year, twin ring-tailed lemurs were born to parents Fiona and Dog.
Rare Mexican frogs were born at Chester Zoo in September – the first of their kind born in a European zoo.
As part of a successful breeding programme, 100 Mexican Leaf Frogs hatched at the zoo after keepers recreated the scorching conditions of their natural environment.
A critically endangered Western chimpanzee was born by 43-year-old Mandy in August at Chester Zoo. Normally found in West Africa, there are as few as 18,000 Western chimpanzees remaining in the wild.
It’s also the first subspecies of chimpanzee to be added to the list of critically endangered apes, making this birth vital to the future of the subspecies.
A critically endangered Bornean orangutan was born in October, a surprise to keepers as mum Leia had a negative pregnancy test just a few months prior.
Estimates suggest fewer than 55,000 Bornean orangutans remain on the island of Borneo in Indonesia, the only place you can find them in the wild.
Earlier last month, Chester Zoo bosses revealed that the zoo is losing £1.7m a month, totalling to £11.5m in losses if the zoo can reopen on April 12th.
Primark confirms what date it will be reopening after lockdown
The news Primark fans have been waiting for
With the details of the ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ revealed yesterday by the prime minister, non-essential retail has been given the chance to start planning its reopening.
Non-essential retailers can reopen during the second stage of restriction easing, which will happen no earlier than April 12th.
Retailers which don’t sell ‘essential’ items have been closed since January 4th, and were only able to open sporadically throughout last year.
If the data let’s stage two go ahead on its planned date, then the high street should once again come to life on Monday April 12th.
That includes Primark, who has now confirmed that it will be opening stores on April 12th if the government allows it.
A Primark spokesperson told The Sun: “Primark welcomes the news that we have a provisional opening date of April 12th for our stores in England.
“We know our customers will be thrilled and we can’t wait to welcome them back into our stores.
“Our priority will be to do that safely, building on all the lessons we have learnt across our European operations in the past year.”
Joining Primark in reopening on the 12th will be John Lewis, Dunelm, H&M and JD Sport, who all plan to let customers enter stores on the first day it is allowed.